Photo by SMercury98/Flickr CC
When people ask how to make better coffee at home, my first question is "How much coffee is in your coffee?" One of the common problems we professionals encounter away from our own brewing is weak coffee. And there is nothing that can be done to salvage weak coffee.
The semantics of "strong" are fascinating. Most people say they don't want it "too strong," but no one really wants it weak. When we introduced Peet's coffee to travelers at San Francisco International Airport, we feared that those unfamiliar with our very hefty brewed coffee would be put off by its strength. So we offered two versions, regular and mild. Very, very few people wanted anything but "strong coffee." We were delighted, of course, but I regret that we have not yet eliminated weak coffee from the world, even though we no longer offer it at our airport outlets. [Curator's note: Thank heaven they don't! The first thing I do, zombie-like, on arriving at SFO is head for the nearest Peet's booth -- and I know where they all are.]
Semantics aside, on countless occasions I've served our coffee to people for the first time. On first sip, they say, "This is strong." By the third or fourth sip, they say, "This is good." The main surprise, I think, is that most coffee is weak and that's what people are expecting. But as soon as they actually taste the full flavor of fresh, freshly ground, full strength coffee, they have a coffee epiphany.